Japan 2004 Day 5: Tokyo Disneyland

Monday March 15, 2004
This is it. The day that Daniel has been waiting for his entire life – the first day at Tokyo Disney Resort! The ride to the resort was easy to manage and we made it to the gates before the park opened. As we got closer to Park opening, there was so much excitement in the air, and not just from us! Due to our tickets, today would be Tokyo Disneyland, tomorrow Tokyo DisneySea, and then Wednesday and Thursday would be Park Hopping between both.

Tokyo Disneyland gave us an amazing first impression as the gates opened as a massive amount of people ran for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, the current most popular attraction. I had to give up as we came towards the end of World Bazaar and gave my ticket to Daniel so he could finish the sprint towards the Fastpass machines to secure our place in the queue for the attraction.

Once our Fastpasses were secured, we headed over to Space Mountain which was like visiting an old friend. It’s just like how Disneyland’s Space was before they added sound. It was like riding a rocket when the audio was out and it was cool. After Space, we went back to Pooh to experience the ride we had heard so much about. It did not disappoint!! Very impressed with the ride technology and the show of the attraction – and let’s be honest it was so much fun.

We then decided to get something to eat and thankfully TDL had the Great American Waffle Company so we could enjoy something that was not curry or seafood based. The waffles were great and we walked over to Guest Relations to exchange some money. I asked about tours, but sadly they do not offer any in English. I received an overview of the different food offerings in the Park and then Daniel and I set off to explore the rest of the park.

The rest of the day was such a blur, but here are some highlights:

  • Pirates was very similar to Disneyland in California and even though they do not have a place called “New Orleans Square” it looked just like it.
  • Jungle Cruise was entertaining in Japanese and the ride reminded me of the Florida version
  • Splash Mountain was side by side seating like in Florida, but was actually designed based on the concerns here in Japan. Apparently side by side is culturally more desired in Japan than one in front of the other like at Disneyland. In terms of theming and overall ride experience, I think the TDL Splash is my favorite.
  • Big Thunder: Paris will always be my favorite, but Daniel LOVED the Thunder here in Japan. I liked it too and especially appreciated it’s layout.
  • Country Bear Jamboree was hysterical in Japanese…
  • Snow White and Pinocchio were so much faster than at Disneyland – also they let you exit the ride before it came to a complete stop which was a bit unnerving as a ride operator.
  • Tiki Room was awesome as well. All in Japanese, but just seemed like a fun show and the Cast Members were really into it.
  • Roger Rabbit – they were using the old 1990s cars which was fun to see.
  • Grand Circuit Raceway reminded me of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway, neither of which is as good as the post 2000 Autopia at Disneyland.
  • Western River Railroad – Small train ride with Primeval World gave us some great views, but miss the around the park experience offered elsewhere. I know the reasons they don’t do it in Japan and they did an excellent job with what they could.
  • Rivers of America – Great riding the Twain around the river at night with some great vistas.

We stayed for the fireworks which felt short, but then again I think we are spoiled by Disneyland. No parades for us today, but we will make sure we see them on Wednesday when we are allowed back into Tokyo Disneyland. On the way out, we stopped at the Disney Gallery in the World Bazaar and they had a great 20th Anniversary exhibit for the resort and it was interesting to see how they have evolved over the years.

Completely exhausted we made our way back to our hotel and couldn’t wait to come back the next day.